Dems push Volkswagen to offer 'generous' emission compensation

Dems push Volkswagen to offer 'generous' emission compensation
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A pair of Democratic senators is pressing Volkswagen to offer a "generous" compensation fund for victims of its efforts to circumvent federal air pollutant emission standards.

Volkswagen has admitted to selling diesel models of its cars that had software installed that violated the Clean Air Act by activating required air pollution protections only during emissions tests. 

The company has issued a $1,000 "goodwill offer" to drivers who were affected by its violations of U.S. emission standards, but Sens. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalOvernight Finance: Trump adviser softens tone on NAFTA | Funding bill to be released Tuesday | GOP leader won't back Trump tariff plan Trump gets chance to remake the courts Wrestling mogul McMahon could slam her way into Trump administration MORE (D-Conn.) and Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Cybersecurity: Fed agency IT report cards | Senate Dems push for briefing on Russia hacks Senator warns voice-controlled toys might be recording children This week: Pelosi's test MORE (D-Mass.) said Thursday the company should go further to compensate drivers who have been affected by the emissions flap. 

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“Volkswagen owes it to the public to make sure that robust incentives are in place that will keep polluting cars off of roads,” the senators wrote in a letter to Michael Horn, Volkswagen's U.S. CEO.

“For owners who want to keep their car, but do not want to be driving a vehicle in breach of environmental regulations, we urge you to guarantee owners a speedy fix that minimizes their hassle, and full compensation for the loss of resale value and lost fuel economy," the lawmakers continued. 

"For owners who no longer want their car, Volkswagen should buy back the vehicle at the fair market value that existed prior to the time at which Volkswagen’s fraudulent activity was made public," they concluded. "In the European Union, Volkswagen is already doing this. All owners affected should also receive compensation for intangible damages stemming from your company’s deception.”

Volkswagen has admitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it installed "defeat devices" on about 482,000 diesel vehicles since 2008. The company has recently been found to have installed the devices on cars marketed under its Audi and Porsche brands.

The company programmed vehicles to trick emissions testers into believing its diesel cars released a much lower volume of nitrogen oxide than they actually do. In regular driving, the vehicles emitted up to 40 times more pollution.

Volkswagen's U.S. division has offered a "sincere apology" to lawmakers in for the company's efforts to circumvent federal air pollution rules, and the company has taken out a full-page ad in major U.S. newspapers to apologize directly to drivers.

The apologies have not been enough to satisfy lawmakers such as Blumenthal and Markey, however.